Monday, July 23, 2012

Matthew 14

The feeding of the 5000 (13-21) is the only miracle of Jesus recorded in all four gospels. Some have speculated that he popularity of the story may have to do with the image of taking bread, breaking it and giving it out -- an action that looks and feels like Communion -- is the reason it was remembered. Others have made other suggestions. The really fun thing to do is to place the four stories side by side and look at them. What the reader will see are the kind of variations that eye witness accounts would likely have. The central story -- Jesus turned 5 barley loaves and two little fish into an enough food to feed a multitude -- is the same. But the colors, the dialogue and even some of the sequencing of the story vary slightly from gospel to gospel.

Jesus walking on water (22-33) contains my favorite St. Peter moment in the Bible. Peter when he discovers that it is Jesus walking on the water asks Jesus to invite him out. John Ortberg's book, "If You Want To Walk On Water You Have To Get Out Of The Boat" is based on this same kind of heart felt risk taking. Peter actually steps out of the boat and begins to walk on the water -- ever wonder what that felt like, how deep does he sink? Peter walks on the water until he is overwhelmed by fear. Notice he sees the strong wind (30), becomes frightened and begins to sink. There is a powerful metaphor for the Christian journey in this passage. As long as Peter kept his eyes firmly on Jesus he could do the miraculous. The moment he allows his fears to get the best of him he begins to sink. But, see also that when he cries out to Jesus in his failure Jesus lifts him up and puts him in the boat. I want a faith like Peter that leaps before looking. I want a faith like Peter's that follows Jesus even when following Jesus seems ridiculous, impossible or just plain difficult. I want to have a level of trust and faith in Christ that I will step out of the boat and either walk toward him or know he will catch me when I go down. I do not ever want to be driven or controlled by fear.

No comments: